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Review | Little House Coloring Book

It seems these days that there is a coloring book for almost any topic or theme that a coloring book fanatic could imagine. There is, literally, something for everyone. For coloring fans of the generation that grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and the Little House on the Prairie tv series, that something might just be the Little House Coloring Book.

[Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay a commission when a purchase is made after a click.]

Little House coloring book

I was gifted Laura Ingalls Wilders’ classic series of books by my grandparents for holiday gifts over a series of years when I was in elementary school. I read them obsessively and became such a fan that our family visited the Ingalls/Wilder historic sites in DeSmet, South Dakota on a family vacation during my high school years.

So when I saw the Little House Coloring Book containing some of Garth Williams’ illustrations from the most famous edition of the series – the edition that I own in hardcover – I just couldn’t resist adding it to my library of coloring books! Williams’ illustrations are just as iconic as the stories themselves.

The book contains illustrations from all of the books that are considered part of the original Little House series (Little House in the Big Woods through The First Four Years). Since the Ingalls books were not heavily illustrated and some of the illustrations were small, the coloring book adds in text elements and combines some smaller elements to make repeating patterns on pages.

Little House coloring book page

One of the challenges of working in a coloring book such as this is that you are working with and trying to emulate the style of a familiar artist. Most of the Little House illustrations from Williams that are included in the coloring book were published in black & white sketch form, so there isn’t a specific example to copy from for coloring them. But Williams’ style in the images that he did complete in full-color for the books (such as for the covers) is very beautiful and distinctive.

For those who grew up loving and admiring the Williams illustrations and want to color in that same look, you may be interested to know that Williams usually worked in colored pencil and ink wash for his children’s book illustrations (he’s also famous for illustrating other books such as Charlotte’s Web by EB White).

For the illustration above, from On the Banks of Plum Creek, I used watercolor with limited success to try to mimic the look of Garth Williams’ ink wash look. I should have diluted my colors more.  For the illustration in progress below (from the same book), I am using colored pencil with a blending pencil.  This technique has me much happier with the results compared to the look of Williams’ work, but I have still not entirely got it nailed yet.

Little House coloring book page

This coloring book has been a lovely nostalgic walk down the memory lane of one of my childhood favorites, and also an artistic challenge.

Little House Coloring Book has 90 coloring pages and a cover price of $15.99 (but is currently available on Amazon for around $11).

How to Pickle Wash a Mother’s Day Recipe Box

I love playing with paint, and I love the distressed shabby and vintage look. Now a product has come along that has my creative soul doing a happy dance because it combines the two so perfectly and easily: Plaid Pickle Wash!

(Disclosure: I am a member of the Plaid Ambassador Program for 2017, and some products I used were provided to me as part of the program. This is not a paid/sponsored post, nor is this post a requirement of my participation in the program. Some links in this article are affiliate links.]

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

Supplies:

Plaid’s new Pickle Wash is an easy to apply finish that gives a whitewashed appearance to wood surfaces. It goes on as a very thin liquid (with a watery consistency). After sitting for 30 seconds, the excess is then wiped off to achieve the distressed finish. The results  – and the ease of application – have to be seen to be believed. This truly is the vintage finish that I’ve been dreaming of being able to create on my projects! And it comes in a palette of a dozen vintage friendly colors like Gypsy Rose, Soleil, Sea Glass and Celadon. And of course…Cottage White! <swoon> Oh the possibilities…I apologize in advance for the Pickle Washing spree you are probably going to be subjected to on this site now.

I decided to start experimenting with my new Plaid Pickle Wash by making myself a new recipe card box for our kitchen. (A couple of decades is probably too long to be using a plastic index card box for them, right?) This recipe box would make a great Mother’s Day gift. So happy Mother’s Day to me!

Since the Pickle Wash is so thin and soaks into the grain, it really raises the grain and emphasizes any imperfections in the surface. Unlike a paint like chalk paint, which covers a multitude of sins in a surface, Pickle Wash is not nearly so forgiving. So a good quality surface is key to getting good results. Before I started painting, I sanded my recipe box down with 320 grit sandpaper, and then removed the sanding dust with a tack cloth.

Applying the Pickle Wash finish was easy. I started on the inside of the recipe box and applied the wash with a foam brush. (This is a great way to get a feel for a new finish, by applying it in an area that won’t be seen much first.) Then after 30 seconds, I used a sheet of blue shop towel to rub off the excess. After allowing it to dry awhile, I repeated the process on the outside of the recipe box.

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

After allowing the Plaid Pickle Wash to dry for the required time, I wanted to stencil on it. For stenciling I reached for classic FolkArt Acrylic, in – what else? – Vintage White! It was the perfect shade of not-quite-white to apply to make my stencil look vintage. True white would have been too stark against the the distressed Pickle Wash finish.

The stencil that I chose for the front of the box was large enough that it spans over the opening of the box lid. So to keep everything in place while I stenciled it, I taped the box lid shut with painter’s tape. Then, after sticking down the self-adhesive stencil, I also taped around the edges of the stencil, since the design went very close to the edges and I didn’t want to get any paint off the edges of the stencil.

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

I dd my stenciling with a super dry brush. I wasn’t worried about getting thick, solid color or about missing spots, since the whole idea is for a vintage, aged look anyway.

Once the stenciling was dry, I drilled a hole in the center of the recipe box’s lid with my drill. I selected a drill bit that was just a tiny bit smaller than the diameter of the screw for my decorative knob I was planning to use.

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

The finishing touch for the recipe box is the decorative knob that serves as a “handle” for the lid, and which emphasizes the vintage theme of the design. I chose this faux milk glass one because the vintage white look of the faux milk glass mimics the vintage white of the stenciled design.

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

The decorative knob came with a really long bolt on it, which would get in the way of storing recipes inside the box. So I got out my Dremel tool and cut it off very near the nut attaching the knob to the lid.

And that is it…my Mother’s Day recipe box was completed. Now that my recipes are stored so beautifully, I might actually have to cook and use some of them!

Pickle Wash Mother's Day Recipe Box

Review | Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy

Every so often, a craft tool comes along that is so simple, yet so useful, that I wonder how I ever got by without it. The Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy is one of those tools.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. Lawn Fawn provided the Stamp Shammy that was used in this review to me for a separate project outside of this site, but I loved it so much I decided I wanted to share it here. Some links may be affiliate links that pay this site a commission when a purchase is made after a click, or advertiser courtesy links.]

Lawn Fawn Stamp ShammyAt first glance in the package, the Stamp Shammy (Amazon, Scrapbook.com, ACOT, Simon) is quite unassuming. In appearance it’s just a piece of turquoise cloth that is slightly under 5″ by 7″ in size. But once out of the package and soaked in water, it shows its true magic.

After being soaked in water, the Stamp Shammy turns into an all-in-one stamp cleaning solution. In my tests, it cleaned rubber and clear stamps of all inks – leaving no color behind on the stamp – except for solvent based inks such as Staz-On and Ranger Archival. Even with those solvent inks it left the stamp clean enough for the stamp to be re-used, but just left behind staining on the stamp. This included tests of pigment, dye, chalk, and hybrid inks from multiple brands.

Cleaning stamps with the Stamp Shammy does leave behind marks on the shammy cloth, but those are just cosmetic and do not mean that area cannot be used to clean another stamp. The staining may be an irritant for neat freaks, however.

Using the shammy is a simple, single step process. Just tamp or wipe your dirty stamp on the cloth until the stamp is clean. Then the stamp can be put away or immediately reused. The Stamp Shammy can also be used to wipe off my stamping block if I get ink on it while using a stamp.

Because of how simple it is to use, and the fact that it uses no consumable supplies, the Stamp Shammy is perfect for large scale repetitive stamping projects. The first project that I used my shammy for was to swatch some inks, leaving behind all of these small circles on the shammy. The shammy makes it ridiculously easy to switch colors for a project like that where you are stamping multiple times with multiple colors with the same stamp. Just stamp, swipe on the shammy, and then ink with your next color!

Lawn Fawn Stamp ShammyAnother project that the Stamp Shammy is perfect for is bullet journaling or planners. I just used it while setting up a new bullet journal, which meant stamping nearly 1000 impressions for calendar dates and events. When I was done, the cloth was quite stained from the black ink, but my shammy was cleaning fine. (The picture below was taken partway through the stamping.)

The shammy really decreased the amount of time it took to complete the calendar stamping versus my last time doing it to set up a new journal. And it made it so easy to do the special events on the calendar in a variety of colors!

Stamp Shammy Bullet JournalSince the shammy is wet while being used, I usually keep it on a thrift store plate (or a foam one) on my work surface to keep the table surface and other items from getting damp.

Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy

Since getting my Stamp Shammy I have drastically cut back my use of baby wipes to clean my stamps – great for both my budget and the environment. I use them only rarely now!

Its size and simplicity makes the Stamp Shammy the perfect stamp cleaner for stamping on the go at the crops or while traveling. It’s small, lightweight, and there’s no containers of liquid to haul (and potentially spill). Just find a sink to run some water on it and activate it, and you’re ready to go. One shammy could serve the stamp cleaning needs of an entire table of croppers! When you are done, throw it in a zip bag to take home. (Don’t keep it sealed up too long, though – be sure to lay it out to dry so that it won’t mold while sealed up wet!)

So what is the cost of stamp cleaning miracles? The price of the Stamp Shammy – an $8 MSRP – is affordable enough that prolific stampers can buy several and stash them where they use them most – their planner kit, their stamping supplies, their crop bag, or wherever they need it. I’m already plotting to add a second one to my supplies for my planner stash!

Pros:

  • Affordable ($8 MSRP)
  • Easy to Use
  • Portable

Cons:

  • Ink stains the shammy (but it still works)
  • Won’t take out solvent inks entirely

The Lawn Fawn Stamp Shammy is available in retail stores and from online retailers (Amazon, Scrapbook.com, ACOT, Simon) for an MSRP of $8.